Google is now in the mobile carrier business. Today Google has made official its plan to offer wireless service to owners of its Nexus 6 smartphone in the U.S. It is called Project Fi, and Google is launching an early invite program beginning today.
“Similar to our Nexus hardware program, Project Fi enables us to work in close partnership with leading carriers, hardware makers, and all of you to push the boundaries of what’s possible,” the company wrote in a blog post yesterday.
The service is exclusively available for the Nexus 6 owners and it requires a special SIM card for Project FI to work on the phone — it will work with both existing Nexus 6 devices and new ones. Google says that right now the service is only available as an “early access program,” and during that time the program will only be available for Nexus 6 devices and won’t work on other phones for now. But who knows in some time later this year it may be made more widely available.
“For $20 a month you get all the basics (talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries), and then it’s a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the U.S. and abroad. 1GB is $10/month, 2GB is $20/month, 3GB is $30/month, and so on.”
Picture originally found in PhanDroid
Google’s new offering is unique in that the company will charge consumers only for what they have used. So lets say if you fail to use all the data you’ve paid for, Google will refund you the difference. The pricing provides you control of your data amount and saves you money by crediting you dollars back for unused data. Another interesting thing is that you can change your budget for the next month whenever you want, so don’t worry about getting it right the first time around. Since it’s hard to predict your data usage, you’ll get credit for the full value of your unused data. Let’s say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.8GB one month. You’ll get $12 back, so you only pay for what you use.
If you go over your plan, Google will simply charge you at a pro-rated rate of $10 per GB. In other words, if you pay for data and don’t use it, you get refunded. If you don’t buy data and use it, you end up paying the same amount. There are no family plans available, but neither does it require a contract of any kind.
“We developed new technology that gives you better coverage by intelligently connecting you to the fastest available network at your location whether it’s Wi-Fi or one of our two partner LTE networks,”
Project Fi also supports voice calls and texting over Wi-Fi, lending subscribers more flexibility and how and where they can communicate with their contacts. Google also says it’s using secure tech (there’s a key that shows up in your menu bar) for when you’re using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
When you are on the phone, Google says calls can seamlessly transition to LTE when you leave a Wi-Fi network. For more information or questions you have you can head towards Project Fi FAQ page.
If you need a new Nexus 6 to use with Project Fi, you can buy one direct from Google when you sign up for Project Fi. You can select the “Midnight Blue” Nexus 6 device in two storage sizes—32GB which will cost you $649 and 64GB for $699, plus applicable taxes, with two ways to pay: all at once or over 24 months. The Nexus 6 will be shipped to you and it comes unlocked, in case you decide that you are not interested and can be used with other carriers.
If you choose to pay for your Nexus 6 over 24 months, it is $27.04/month for the 32GB option and $29.12/month for the 64GB option. There’s no interest or fees. However, a credit check is required to be eligible for this pricing.
If you’re interested in being part of Google’s Project Fi, the signup page is here. We would love to hear from you about what do you think about Google’s mobile experiment. So feel free to leave your comment in the comment section below .